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Find My Phone tracks over 130 handsets to one man

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Hail to the (alleged) thief

Smartphone thievery used to be all the rage, and why not? Phones are light, easy to carry and are worth hundreds of pounds: the popcorn of the pickpocket world. Unfortunately for aspiring criminals, smartphone theft became considerably less appealing when iOS and Android introduced phone-tracking software to remotely lock, wipe and find missing handsets.

This isn’t exactly a secret, and yet one alleged smartphone magpie clearly didn’t get the memo – a memo originally sent in 2010. He was caught with more than 130 smartphones in his rucksack at Coachella after several victims were able to pin-point his location via phone-tracking software.

36-year-old Reinaldo De Jesus Henao was arrested after police noticed a spike in reported phone thefts around the Sahara tent. Originally, Indio Police pushed extra resources to monitor the area, but when the extra eyes didn’t help, technology took its place.

“People started using the ‘Find My Phone’ feature on their phones and, sure enough, people spotted a dot going through the tent, and they alerted authorities,” Indio police sergeant Dan Marshall told Gizmodo.

Anything that can be activated remotely will likely come back to bite a thief – see also the man remotely locked inside a stolen BMW 550i a few months ago.

The majority of the pilfered phones are back in the hands of their rightful owners, according to Marshall, who was keen to emphasise that the majority of festival-goers were good eggs. “The kids at Coachella are not here to do bad things. They turn in phones they find, wallets with cash in them. People hand you all kinds of stuff,” he explained. “The kids are just here to have a good time.”

Image: Indio police department

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